On Moral Development
Lawrence Kohlberg was a supporter of Jean Piaget’s theory of moral development. Thus, it is necessary to briefly recall the basics of the theory. Its founder, Jean Piaget, researched what children thought and moral reasons for their actions. He stressed that any action depends on the understanding of morality and ethics. The theory is based on three fundamental issues relating to the understanding of generally accepted social rules of behavior, a comprehension of moral duty and perception of such notion as justice. Jean Piaget studied the important questions of understanding the good and the bad actions, what makes the act a positive or a negative one, and how to distinguish accidental and intentionally negative attitude/ conducts/ inactions or even crime. Over time, the scientist explored important issues, such as justice and punishment, and the legality of penalties. In turn, Lawrence Kohlberg went further in explanation how crime influences the individual conduct (Kohlberg’s Moral Development, n.d.). Furthermore, Jean Piaget showed that opinions of children change over time, thus there are cognitive levels of development. He offered two levels that represent the growth of a man as a moral person: moral realism and moral relativism (Piaget’s Theory of Moral Development, n.d.).
Lawrence Kohlberg agreed with Jean Piaget that children aged 5-9 years hold to the rules and laws that are made by other people and believe that the laws cannot be changed. At this age, children are aware that violation will result in immediate punishment (immanent justice) which must match the magnitude of the negative consequences of poor performance (expiatory punishment). Children believe that a large number of random bad actions lead to worse consequences than a small number of adverse deeds that were conceived or foreseen. Small children live under the rules set for them by their parents, teachers, and the others. Children usually tell the truth. Then, the child begins to understand that morality depends on the intentions, not the results. During such period, each person sets his or her laws and understands that rules are relative. Thus, there is no right or wrong behavior (Piaget’s Theory of Moral Development, n.d.).
Lawrence Kohlberg calls the mentioned period a pre-conventional morality and divides it into two levels. He believes that the development of early moral values depends on experienced external or quasi-physical situations and negative deeds. Every youngster in this phase evaluates his or her environment regarding the consequences of actions. In addition, child’s behavior depends on the physical power of a person which imposes the rules and the use of force against a child by the individual (Kohlberg’s Moral Stages, n.d.). The scientist emphasizes that even the initial level of morality can sometimes be achieved by certain individuals only in adulthood. Therefore, the main reason for a child to obey the rules and laws is the fear of being punished. For example, the child picks toys to avoid the negative attitude of parents (Kohlberg’s Moral Development, n.d.). The next stage is the period of innocently egoistic coordination of actions and activities. Kohlberg agrees with Jean Piaget that the next phase shows the development of egoism, when the child begins to perform his or her own desirable actions and sometimes listens to the advice and wishes of the others.
The next level is called by Kohlberg the conventional/role conformity. The main features of it are to establish interpersonal contacts and the desire to maintain social order. At this level, a child begins to realize that decisions can affect relationships with other people. Such a step creates the stereotypical thinking about what is natural and positive behavior. Children are trying to please and gain praise from the others. They begin to realize that the actions depend on intentions (Kohlberg’s Moral Stages, n.d.). For example, children help their parents to have a good relationship with them.
The next stage forms attitude to society. Children or adolescents learn to obey the laws, rules of conduct, and canons accepted in society (Kohlberg’s Moral Stages, n.d.). For example, while in the supermarket a child wants to take a toy, but does not behave in that way, because he or she understands that the theft will lead to negative consequences.
The last level is the post-conventional or self-accepted morality. The nature of ideas and opinions of others is the major factor influencing behavior at this level. A person tries to respect and not insult others. The step is important since a person takes internal decisions and creates his or her own system of values. A person understands the rationality of various laws and regulations and expresses respect for governmental institutions. People, who have reached this level, respect the general welfare and the will of the majority. If there is a conflict between personal and society’s interests, a person tries to obey laws due to the understanding of their functional rationality (Kohlberg’s Moral Stages, n.d.). For example, most people try to preserve nature while relaxing outside even if no one looks at them. The vacationer removes different garbage to preserve nature for society.
In my opinion, Kohlberg’s model is consistent with the behavior of every employee at various stages. If management follows the development model, it will lead to the gradual and logical development of a worker or a team as a professional company’s representative. A newcomer behaves like a small child in a new team. Managers should teach a new employee rules, statutes, and regulations of the organization and explain what methods of encouragement and punishment are used in the company. A person is ready to assimilate the rules of conduct and ethics of a team and a company. Over time, each employee wants more personal freedom in decision-making process and actions. Such longings need to be supported. A manager must discuss the employee’s work schedule to make it the most effective one. The next period begins when a person tries to achieve universal approval. Such stage is known as the pursuit of the employee to have a good relationship with the team. Hence, it is correct and possible to create a team consisting of newcomers. The next step for the supervisor is to teach employees to be proud of their company. Employees should understand that through their personal behavior and actions they constantly create and develop the image of the company. At this stage, an employee becomes aware of his or her social and ethical responsibilities. It means that a person is ready and willing to respect the thoughts and ideas of the others and work for the benefit of society in general. This is the best time to develop traits such as tolerance, understanding, equality, and respect for the team. Employees, who have reached such moral values, can successfully represent the company at international conferences and work in foreign subsidiaries. At the last step, the company’s management should discuss wage increases to support and positively evaluate a good specialist.
In addition, James Weber used the study of Lawrence Kohlberg to find the answer how to solve conflicts in the workplace. The moral judgment interview and standard issue scoring were used to develop a method for assessing the morality of managers. A human resource manager should provide training for managers and give usual and uncommon dilemma to resolve, then conduct interviews on the subject of morality and key management principles, using oral or written interviews, and objectively evaluate the results (Weber, 1991). Therefore, Kohlberg’s model perfectly suits managers on the way to sustain the ethical corporate culture.
Although the word ethics has become known to numerous people, the society is saturated with the cases where selfishness prevails over personal principles of morality and ethics. Rather often, relativism remains the basis of individual behavior even in adulthood. The main feature of modern society is the duality of behavior when a person tries to make a positive impression but wants to achieve personal goals that conflict with the general welfare. For example, powerful corporations emphasize high ethical standards adopted by their companies and, at the same time, violate the rights and freedoms of its employees and sometimes even deceive the customers.
Ultimately, when presented with an opportunity to carry out an action you know is wrong, what helps you do the right thing? When I am confronted with a moral dilemma, I find its solution through my beliefs and understand that my actions will have consequences. I look for a solution to the problem that will be positive for me and the society. For example, I notice neglect of my colleague. His actions harm the company in which I work, and I have to inform the management. I recognize that the person can be dismissed if I immediately consult leadership. However, I would try to understand the reasons for negligence and perhaps help to change things for the best.
It is worth noting that Aristotle understood justice as a condition when people get what they deserve. According to the philosopher, a society must decide what virtues deserve respect and reward. For example, the constitution cannot be considered good if it does not reflect the most desirable and positive development path for a given community or society. The philosopher stressed that the law cannot be neutral when dealing with matters of wealth (Sandel, 2010). His concept can be used to build the right relations and provide sustainable development.
In my opinion, clear organization of society is good. The society without chaos and full of traditions is favorable for a person as it removes the burden of responsibility in various cases and the need to reflect on the correctness of personal actions. People who hold to a structured system of concepts and beliefs are experiencing less stress and are more likely to feel inner peace and harmony.
On the other hand, the world of each person is so multifaceted that it is unrealistic to conduct ethically and morally in 100% of cases in the society with the accepted framework of virtues. It is quite difficult to build the society under Aristotle’s ethics since there are always different views on life. The Purple Heart case is the prime example of how different people think about military awards. While some believe that it must be a physical injury, the others emphasize that psychological trauma is equally important as well (Sandel, 2010). In my opinion, if a community with traditions focused on the enhancement of health and human welfare and clear structure concepts allows people freedom of choice and belief, it would be an ideal one. For example, some of the UAE retained its traditions but introduced education for women.
Immanuel Kant emphasized that the principles of justice should not touch any virtue or understanding on how to live. He believed that society must respect the choice and the vision of each member. Kant did not support utilitarianism and defended the idea of social contract. He believed in the fair and correct decision aimed at reconciling liberty of the individual and the others (Sandel, 2010). Thus, his theory helps to behave correctly with the respect to other people.
The philosophical vision of John Rawls stresses the freedom of speech and the choice of religion and the principles of social and economic equality. His ideas have influenced the modern world giving the chance for people to feel secure (Sandel, 2010). His statements gave the base for the development of democracy. Thus, they encourage to tolerance.
In my view, the concerns of Aristotle and other philosophers on ethics make it possible to solve controversial questions. I like the philosophy of Kant since I believe that everyone is entitled to their vision, but personal freedom must not violate the freedom of another person. It is necessary to note that with each new case a man compares his plans to solve with the previous experience and adopts new solutions.
My experience gave me the belief that it is better to feel good than doing good. As far as each person’s outlook is different, thus none of my actions will be considered as positive by all people. I believe that life is given to a man to be happy and live it as rich and full of positive events and emotions. It is fair to admit that I am not always ready to act against my needs and beliefs for the good of the society. On the other hand, such virtues as dignity, honesty, kindness, reliability, and willingness to help others are the essential part of my character and behavior. I am tolerant of different religions and try to understand people from diverse cultures.
Moreover, I believe that a child in early adolescence should be taught to do good things for this action to become an integral part of life. If a child gets a lot of love, respect, and joy, he or she sees it as a stereotypical behavior and displays it in the future. Besides, I agree with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and believe that a society should help people get initial needs such as quality food, protection, shelter, sufficient sleep, and good sanitary living conditions (Simply Psychology, 2007). The combination of positive education and ensuring primary needs allows a person to act for the good of the society and to reach needs of a higher level.
On Corporate Responsibility
The difference between the philosophy of Milton Friedman and Archie Carroll is noticeable. According to Friedman, the coordinated operation of a free market system is the way to address social issues. According to the scientist, it will lead to the solution of social problems (Friedman, n.d.). In contrast, Archie Carroll emphasizes not only economic or legal corporate social responsibility (CSR) of institutions, but their ethical and philanthropic functions in the society as well. The vision of Archie Carroll is more popular today since wealthy people understand the importance of participation in solving social problems (Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, n.d.).
Both philosophers point out that it is difficult to maintain the company’s work at the appropriate level and achieve significant results regarding the competition. Managers always feel responsible for the efficient operation and growth of business. A company must constantly work under the Constitution and coordinate activities with local and federal.
Archie Carroll believes that corporate performers have to balance the desire to please the owners of the company and the shareholders who claim the ethical and legal rights. The scientist stressed that managers are forced to look for ways to combine ethical attitudes and work with company policy and actions. The company, according to the philosopher, has not only legal, economic, and ethical obligations but discretionary ones. The executives need to support social projects and activities as well as the desire of the employees to take part in voluntary. He stressed that ethical rules do not finish at those that are fixed by legislation, and are a much broader concept as they include the expectations and opinions of the community and clients of the company (Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, n.d.). On the other hand, Milton Friedman believes that only voluntary activity of the citizens and the work of volunteer organizations is the way to address social issues and problems (Friedman, n.d.).
Which do you think is more accurate and why? Explain in detail. I believe that the philosophy of Archie Carroll brings good. The modern companies take care of relations with publicity and try to follow ethical and moral standards. Such companies receive the support of the society in times of crisis. I realize that the work of a business must be in accordance with state and local laws. However, it does not prohibit doing good acts. For example, large supermarkets sometimes hold charity events and concerts on its territory to collect funds to help sick children and adults. Therefore, the company helps the public and creates a positive image of the community at the same time.
Dr. Jasso considers that there are five levels of corporate responsibility, namely elementary, engaged, innovative, integrated, and transforming one (Jasso, 2015). At the elementary level, a company does not show its social activism and philanthropy is underdeveloped. The company and its employees can take part in episodic volunteering. For example, employees of such companies are perceived as a labor force, have no effect on the image of the company, and do not participate in community activities related to the company.
The next level is more progressive as the company begins to look for ways of cooperation with shareholders and becomes interested in their wishes and concerns. Positive steps are taken regarding the atmosphere in the team (Jasso, 2015). For example, employees can undergo training in psychology about how to work as a team with representatives of ethnic or sexual minorities.
Nowadays companies have been starting to use civil policies that are deep and thought-out and include social programs. It should be emphasized that companies not only develop cooperation with the public, but finance and support such an effort as well (CSR International, n.d.). For example, a company can always take care of the animals at the zoo, or assist specific oncology department in a hospital.
A characteristic feature of the integrated stage is that the corporations officially and formally include drawing up its work on civic activities. For example, the management coordinates the development of the company in the way that it brings the overall benefit to the community. Such companies set high ethical standards of conduct and constantly monitor the cooperation with the public.
The corporate citizenship is a strategic direction for the company’s development in the transforming stage. It is the feature of companies who want to open new markets. For example, companies’ employees that have to work in headquarters receive preliminary training about how to represent the company and work with the public (Jasso, 2015).
On Corporate Governance
The Board of Directors together with the CEO has a clear role in the organization of the company. The main objective of the Board is to hire the executive director/the CEO and develop the overall direction and strategy of the organization. In addition, they choose the President and the Vice President (for substitution in case of absence of the President), a Secretary and a Treasurer. On the other hand, the CEO hires other employees and follows the daily and routine work of the business.
The Board of Directors develops a system of business management, regulates the relationship with the CEO, performs fiduciary duty, protects assets and investments, and represents investors’ interests. It has controlling/monitoring function (Iowa State University, n.d.).
Among the list of traditional duties, what is the single most important measure of an effective board and why. The Board is engaged in recruitment, evaluation and compensation, and retention of the CEO. The CEO represents the company and has a significant impact on its development (Iowa State University, n.d.). The factual progress and endorsement of a strategy are assigned to the CEO. For instance, there are top managers who obtain dollars in yearly salary. Thus, their reward is strictly linked to the corporate operation. However, four of them are Forbes billionaires, for example, Oracle’s Larry Ellison (Kluyver, 2013, p.160)
The author stresses the importance of the CEO hiring and selection as the person is responsible for the success of the company. The man can lead to success or loss. The person works with key customers, suppliers, and stakeholders. Lucian Bebchuk claims that the directors are assumed to conduct as the shareholders’ protectors. Thus, shareholders should have the authority to change members of the board (Kluyver, 2013, 38). For example, Pamela Nicholson became the CEO of Enterprise Rent-A-Car due to her excellent leadership abilities. She proved the ability to plan and control. (Enterprise Holdings, 2013).
I agree that there is a vital difference between the management and the governance. The company should clearly delineate the functions of the Board and the managers. The Board is responsible for the company’s overall strategy and it governs the company. Moreover, state law has customarily been the supreme judge of governance matters (Kluyver, 2013). The Board of Directors is obliged to abide the duty of obedience (they cannot do anything that is illegal), the duty of care (they are to be reported about material data before making crucial decisions), and the duty of loyalty (they have to do their best for the company’s and shareholders benefits) (Kluyver, 2013). Managers have to manage the execution of daily tasks and routine work. A manager has to be able to report to the chairman of a company. Moreover, such advantage as the longevity in such sphere is replaced by the manager’s experience (Kluyver, 2013).